SUNDAY NIGHT CROSSTRAINING NOTES
The Omnipotence of God - The Inifnite Resources of our Almighty Heavenly Father
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Sunday, July 20, 2008 - 6:00 p.m.  Sermon #: 1190
Pastor Don Horban

Revelation 19:6 - “Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.” Great words, these. God reigns because He is Almighty. That means there are no threats to His reign. He reigns because there is nothing in or beyond creation that can end His reign. We all encounter opposition against the power of our own beings. Age, death, weakness, limitations - all of these make us aware of other factors bigger than ourselves. This is something an Almighty God knows nothing of.

The word "omnipotent" is the word theologians use to describe the limitless power of God. It actually occurs only in the King James Version, and only in the opening text of this teaching: Revelation 19:6 - "And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of might thunderings, saying, 'Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.'"

The word "omnipotent" comes from Latin roots and means "having all power." The more common Anglo-Saxon word with exactly the same meaning is "almighty". This occurs 56 times in the Bible and, very significantly, is never used to describe anyone or anything but God. Never angels, never demons, never principalities, never powers, certainly never the Devil himself. In marvelous, bare-boned, stark simplicity, God alone is almighty.

That's why the central conviction of the Scriptures is summed up by the Psalmist - Psalm 62:11 - “Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God....” Take special note, “power belongs to God....” Other beings have power. But it doesn’t belong to them. Their power is always derived power. Their power is always from another outside source. Everything else that has any degree of power depends on God for that power. Power belongs to God in a way that it doesn't belong to anyone else.

The Bible keeps reinforcing this truth so it stays hot in our minds. Creation itself only holds together - only stays “lit up” - because of the sustaining power of God - Colossians 1:17 - “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

What great words! The overworked adjective “awesome” truly applies to the power of God. The seasons, winds, movements of planets - the life in the soil - the power in the atom - all would lie silent and cold if God didn't sustain everything by His strong arm. Only mindless, numb souls overlook the fact that God is the power plant of all that is. Truly power belongs to God.

We live in a world full of experts who have largely explained away the power of God. We do it most commonly with our choice of words. Consider the way we talk about the "laws of nature." Now, that word “law” can be used in two different ways:

a) There is a law against robbing banks. It exists on the law books of the land. That law is an external rule enforced by some authority. The effect of that law comes into effect against the criminal when he or she breaks it.


b) There are also what have loosely been called the laws of nature. But we only call them such because our culture has separated them from the existence of God. What we observe happening uniformly around us, and call the laws of nature are simply the paths of God's power and wisdom in His creation.

All we do is observe and record what we see God consistently doing. We don’t create those actions. And even if we choose to call them laws of nature, we certainly don’t create any such laws ourselves. No court or laboratory created a law of gravity. We didn’t find it written down somewhere. Careful scientists codify and keep track what they observe of God's activity with material objects. The way God consistently works is what makes the scientist's work possible.

Psalm 33:6 - “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.”

Psalm 89:11-12 - “The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them. [12] The north and the south, you have created them....”

Why does the Bible put such an emphasis on this seemingly obvious truth? Because the danger of our secular age is we get so absorbed with God's footprints in His creation that we forget about the One who made those footprints in the first place. All we see is laws of nature when we’re meant to marvel at the power of our Creator. Where the saints of Scripture lived in a world where everything pointed to the almighty activity of a God of love, justice and sometimes wrath, we inhabit an age of mindless numbers and statistics. The hand of Almighty God has been replaced with deaf and dumb laws of nature.

And the problem with all this is it gets harder and harder, even for Godly people, to keep thoughts of their Creator close at the front of their daily thinking. This is why Christians need to be deeply and persistently intentional in the way they use their words. I try very hard to remember in ordinary conversation, especially with unbelievers, not to talk about nature. I don’t mean that it’s a dirty word. But I’d rather use the word creation. Creation does the obvious. It points to a Creator.

We should always try to trace everything back to Father God’s hand. Say “grace” when you eat in a restaurant. Make it obvious that the sushi in front of you didn’t just come from the kitchen. Before that it came from our Creator. Fly the Creator’s flag over your life.

Let me make four statements about what the omnipotence of God means to each one of us. Each statement will begin with the same words - "Because our God is almighty..."

1) BECAUSE GOD IS ALMIGHTY HE IS ABLE TO DO WHAT HE SAYS HE WILL DO

Psalm 115:3 - “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”

Every so often our minds are relieved to find a short sentence that says it all. This is one of those. Here’s how you know who God is. You’ll know Him when you see Him because He’s the one who “does whatever He pleases.”

The Apostle Paul describes God in the very same way in the New Testament - Ephesians 1:11 - “....In him [Christ] we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him [Father God] who works all things according to the counsel of his will....”

People get so hung up on the doctrine of predestination that they miss the last part of that terrific verse. Paul tells us how to identify God Almighty. It works like this. You're at a party. You see someone you don't think you know. Somebody starts to tell you - "O, you know him. That's Gerry. He's the guy who..." And then they start to tell you something about that person by which he can be identified by your faltering memory.

That's what Paul is doing here. He says something about God starting with that little word “‘who” about two thirds of the way through that eleventh verse. Our God is specifically identifiable. There are ways to remember Him. He’s distinct from anything and anyone else. God is the one “who - works all things according to the counsel of his will”(11).

That's who God is. You can't say those words about anybody else. No matter how big or how powerful a person may get, nobody can do exactly whatever he wants to do - nobody except God.

2) BECAUSE GOD IS ALMIGHTY FAITH CAN BE EXERCISED IN THE MIDDLE OF IMPOSSIBLE SITUATIONS

Jeremiah 32:15-17 - “For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.’[16] After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed to the Lord, saying: [17] 'Ah, Lord God! It is you who has made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.’”

Here is a promise that, even though Judah is about to go into devastating captivity to the Babylonians, fields will once again burst with crops, farms and houses will be valued and bought and sold. It all seemed so incredible and hard to believe. It made no sense to believe any of this at the time.

And it wouldn’t make any sense except for Jeremiah’s understanding of who God is. "Jeremiah", God says, "you can dare to believe for fruitfulness again even though you can't see how it can ever be." And something of high faith rises up in Jeremiah about the omnipotence of God. “Lord God, You are the One who made all the earth by your power. And if that’s Your nature - if that’s who You are - then there is nothing too difficult for You! Faith makes sense.”

Here’s another example: Genesis 17:1-2 - “When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, [2] that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly."

Now, Abraham probably doesn't catch the significance of God's introduction - “I am God Almighty....”(1). It seems like a heavy-weight theological title. Then Abraham learns why God chooses to introduce his covenant announcement with those words:

Genesis 18:10-14 - “The Lord said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son." And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. [11] Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. [12] So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, "After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?" [13] The Lord said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, 'Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?' [14] Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son."

Suddenly it's very important that God is almighty. God's point in His self-introduction is surely this - it doesn't matter how old Abraham is or how old Sarah is. Their ages are irrelevant because God is almighty. There are, in effect, no barriers to anything God chooses to do. Or, if you remember that tight little sentence from the Psalmist, “God does whatever He pleases!”

I talked earlier in this message about the impact of a secular age on the minds of Christians. One bad influence is particularly deadening to a Christian mind. We tend to calculate far too carefully and meagerly with God. We don’t want to look irrational or fanatical, so we believe down to the commonly accepted level of the world around us.

And the tragedy of that is the Christian life is nothing if it isn’t thoroughly supernatural. We truly are called to expect more than the average person expects. We are called to feed on the promises of God - called to high and holy faith - called to pray with high and holy faith. We live our lives with a certain kind of particular Christian expectancy because we have been redeemed by the same Lord who said these words: "If you can believe all things are possible!"

3) BECAUSE GOD IS ALMIGHTY HE STILL CONTROLS THE NATIONS AND WORKS IN THE GOVERNMENTS OF THE EARTH THROUGH THE PRAYERS OF HIS PEOPLE

Let me show you one of the clearest examples of this from the Word of God: Isaiah 45:1-6 - “Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and to loose the belts of kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed:[2] "I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, [3] I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. [4] For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me. [5] I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, [6] that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other.”

God wants His people to know that He will be involved in bringing about their deliverance from Babylonian captivity. Things are going to go from bad to worse for the people of Judah. They will be seriously punished by God for their unbelief and rebellion. But even at rock bottom, they are to look to God for their strength and deliverance.

How will He deliver them? God specifically names a king - Cyrus(1) - whom he will raise up. Cyrus will be the king of Persia. He will be the most powerful man in the world at that time. He will not be a Godly man. He will not even recognize nor will he acknowledge that he is being used by God.

And I say he will be the most powerful man in the world because all of that is still future tense. Cyrus won't be born for another 150 years! Yet close to 200 years before the event happens, God says, "I have my plan. I have my man selected. I know what I'm going to do. I control all the peoples and all the nations!"

Notice how Isaiah links together the power of God in creation (12) - “I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.” - with His faithfulness in governing what He has created (13) - “I have stirred him up in righteousness, and I will make all his ways level; he shall build my city and set my exiles free, not for price or reward," says the Lord of hosts.”

I've been taught since I was a kid that God is the Creator. It takes no great fight of faith for me to acknowledge that God made the world and all that's in it. But somehow it is more difficult for me to believe that as surely as God made the world, He controls it - as marred as it is by sin and rebellion. He still is sovereign among the nations as I watch the evening news. And most importantly of all, He still works on a global scale through the prayers of His church!

Yet we know that this was the understanding the early church prayed with - the kind of expectancy it shared when it gathered together: Acts 4:23-25 - “When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. [24] And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, "Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, [25] who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, " 'Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain?”

Notice how they looked at even the aggressive acts of world leaders like Herod and Pontius Pilate: Acts 4:28 - “....to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.”

This is the foundation of their prayer and expectation in verses 29-30: “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, [30] while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus."

4) BECAUSE GOD IS ALMIGHTY HE CAN GIVE LIMITLESS STRENGTH TO THOSE WHO WILL LOOK TO HIM IN FAITH

Isaiah 40:28-31 - “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. [29] He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. [30] Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; [31] but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

I wonder how many people never will set their sights on a healed marriage - or a sanctified life - or a healed body - or a converted loved one - not because they don't think that would be nice, but because they have somewhere lost the fundamental confidence that there’s ever the most remote possibility of anything ever being changed anyway.

"I always will be addicted to pornography" - "I never will be able to quit gambling" - "I never will be able to renew relationship with my spouse" - "I never will be fill with the Holy Spirit" - "I'm always going to be a spiritual flop"

Listen, God gives power to the weak! His omnipotence isn’t some cold, isolated divine trait with no meaning for the confused and weak in this world - Ephesians 3:20-21 - “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, [21] to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

That word "amen" is more than just a quick way to wrap up a prayer. The word, loosely paraphrased means, "and that's really the way it is" - "so be it!" It's God's way of saying, "I'm not kidding or exaggerating either!"

The power that pulled Jesus out of the grave - that's the power that's supposed to be at work when this church gets together! It's a sober, reverent, awesome event when we gather in His holy, powerful Name.

1 Chronicles 29:11 - “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.”

With such a God, no wonder we end our prayers with “Amen!”